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All Patterns can be found at Ravelry.com


Etsy  abounds  in  cool  stuff  that  you  just  won’t  find  anywhere  else.    Instead  of  spending  hours  in  line  Thanksgiving  night   into  Black  Friday,  why  not  sit  back  on  your  couch  and  cruise  through  the  thousands  of  shops  on  Etsy  selling  unique   handmade  items?   Some  of  my  favorites  (and  on  my  wish  list  –  Santa,  please  take  note)  include  the  following:   As  a  mixed  media  artist  myself,  I’m  fond  of  seeing  everyday  objects  repurposed  into  wonderful,  fabulous  items.    Roger   Hiles  of  England’s  Kwerki  repurposes  all  kinds  of  things,  but  one  of  my  favorites  are  the  shoes.    Guaranteed,  you  won’t   find  these  shoes  at  DSW  or  Payless.  

  (Image  courtesy  of  Kwerki  on  Etsy)   This  particular  listing  shows  a  pair  of  superhero  theme  high  heels  that  he  has  for  sale  in  his  shop.    However,  he  will   decoupage  an  old  pair  of  your  shoes  to  create  a  unique  look  for  a  special  occasion.  


I’ve  been  following  Matthew  Hoffman’s  shop  MaterialWhirlCollage  for  almost  a  year  and  I  marvel  at  his  creations.     Matthew  creates  collages  from  magazine  and  other  illustrations  which  can  be  transformed  into  a  card  or  a  frameable   work  of  art.    This  piece  is  just  one  of  the  many  fabulous  creations  he  sells  –  and  I  am  proud  to  say  that  I  own  several  of   them.  

  (Image  courtesy  of  MaterialWhirlCollage  on  Etsy)      


Another  artist  who  makes  art  out  of  old  things  is  Karen  from  TheImpossibleChild.    Typically  she  takes  beat  up  items  and   transforms  them  through  paint  into  the  artworks  you  see  in  her  shop.    She  donates  a  portion  of  her  sales  to  charity.    Her   work  is  vibrant,  colorful,  and  just  the  thing  to  brighten  up  a  dark  corner.    Just  imagine  this  table  somewhere  in  your   home  –  I  can.    (Santa?)  

  (Image  courtesy  of  TheImpossibleChild  on  Etsy)  


Those  who  know  me  well  know  that  I  love  kitschy  things  and  I  love  things  that  pick  up  on  trends.    What  better  to  satisfy   those  things  than  a  zombie  family  Christmas  ornament?    And  I  mean  kitsch  as  a  compliment.    

  (Image  courtesy  of  Peachwik  on  Etsy)   Peachwik  is  a  New  Hampshire  shop  specializing  in  keepsake  items.        


Linda  Chapman  of  BadAssWhimsey  is  a  woman  after  my  own  heart.    She  and  I  are  both  fans  of  Monty  Python  and  the   late  great  panel  cartoon  “The  Far  Side.”    This  painting,  inspired  by  her  mother’s  love  of  Bigfoot,  epitomizes  her  work.     Her  quirkiness  isn’t  for  everyone  –  it  takes  a  truly  special  person  to  get  it  –  and  I’m  glad  to  be  the  owner  of  two  of  her   pieces.    A  true  Mainiac,  her  shop  is  worth  a  visit.  

  (Image  courtesy  of  BadassWhimsy  on  Etsy)   Donna  of  WestChester,  Pennsylvania  is  the  proud  owner  of  AnimalFancy,  and  it  is  there  that  you  will  find  this  adorable   little  cutie.    Donna  creates  whimsical  digital  dioramas,  basically,  of  animals  in  human  positions  and  photographs  the   result.    You  almost  believe  the  photograph  to  be  a  true  scene  they  are  so  lifelike.    This  shop  is  definitely  in  my  favorites.  

 


(Image  courtesy  of  AnimalFancy  on  Etsy)   This  barn  owl  pocket  mirror  was  inspired  by  a  visit  to  the  Loch  Lomond  Bird  of  Prey  Centre  by  the  owner  of   SquishnChips,  Orawee  Bradley.    I  think  it’s  adorable  and  I’m  not  even  an  owl  fan.    The  mirror  comes  in  pink  or  blue  and   will  make  a  great  stocking  stuffer  for  an  owl  lover.  

  (Image  courtesy  of  SquishNChips  on  Etsy)   The   British   shop   DebonoandBennett   is   responsible   for   this   whimsical   print   of   a   robin   rocking   out   to   tunes   on   its   MP3   player.    Their  shop  features  several  different  prints  that  are  quirky  and  different  from  what  you  normally  find  in  shops   selling  word  art.    This  print  particularly  caught  my  eye  because  of  the  robin’s  attitude.    Love  it!  

 


(Image  courtesy  of  DebonoandBennett  on  Etsy)   And  last,  but  definitely  not  the  least  of  my  finds,  is  this  kitschy  gold  gnome  sold  by  the  fantastic  duo  of  Nashpop,  based   in  Nashville,  Tennessee.    Nashpop  takes  statuettes  and  turns  them  into  colorful,  upcycled,  revived  items  with  an   irreverent  flair.    This  is  one  of  my  favorites.  

    There  you  have  it.    A  journey  through  some  of  Etsy’s  great  shops  and  a  collection  of  quirky  items  that  are  sure  to  please   someone  on  your  shopping  list  for  the  holidays.    Be  different  from  the  rest  –  buy  something  you  won’t  find  anywhere   else.   Lin  Collette  is  the  artist  behind  the  wonderful  pieces  found  at  RhodyArt  on  Etsy.    You  can  find  her  at  Rhodyart.etsy.com  


The holiday season can be, for some, the one time of year when the whole family is together. So why not take the opportunity to get the camera out and take some great family shots. Even if the only photos you ever take are on your phone, here are a few general rules to make sure the moments you capture will look great. Prepare There’s nothing worse than having the kids wait around miserably on Christmas morning waiting to open their presents while you fumble around with your camera or missing that great shot of Grandpa asleep on the sofa after Thanksgiving dinner. Avoid any mishaps by thinking ahead of what type of shots you’d like to get before hand. Make sure those batteries are charged and have a couple of extra memory cards handy.

Get to know your camera So Santa brought you a new camera? Great! Now learn how to use it. Nowadays technology is so great and cameras have so many bells and whistles that finding out what each of those buttons mean can get a little confusing. Spend some time


reading through the instruction manual getting to know the basics. Ask your photography enthusiast friend for some help if you have one. Youtube has some great tutorials and you can even check out some fantastic websites such as www.digital-photography-shool.com once you’ve done that learning what “aperture” is and knowing how to set the correct white balance and ISO can make the difference between a good photo and a GREAT photo.


Compose Having your subjects in the right place can really improve your photos. Not everything has to be in the centre. Many photographers use a grid called “the rule of thirds”. Imagine a tic tac toe grip across your camera screen (some cameras actually have this built in to help you) and work with that. Another thing to think about is to check your backgrounds. Having too much going on can take the focus off your subject… and you don’t want to get the cat grooming itself in the corner of your family photo. Another thing you can try is zooming in close. Rather than being far away from your subjects, try to fill the frame.


Lighting This is where things can get a little complicated but it’s worth keeping in mind where your light is coming from. Even if your taking photos on your phone, lighting can mean a lot. If you’re shooting outdoors it’s worth taking note of where the sun is. Is it high in the sky above you, or a little lower? Having the sun behind your subject can create a really pretty halo effect. Take a few test shots to make sure you’re happy with the result. If things look a little dark, you could get a piece of white card to bounce the light onto your subjects face, or even use your flash. If you’re shooting indoors, try to make use of as much natural light as possible. Shoot near an open window if you can. I know some places in the world don’t have a great deal or natural light in the winter months so making the best of what you have can make for some really interesting effects. How about not using your flash, setting your ISO a little higher and see what you come up with. Christmas time is usually a great time to experiment with light as you have candles, and Christmas tree lights at disposal.


Practice The best way to get good at something is to practise practise practise! Learning as you go along is truly the best way to learn. Play around with different lighting, try out different settings and shoot from different angles. Sometimes you can come up with some amazing photos if you get out of your comfort zone and experiment a little. Now, go take some great holiday photos. Happy Holidays!

Stephanie Curwen is a freelance photographer and graphic designer based in Manchester, UK. You can follow her blog at www.serendipityandme.com


Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse. The stockings were hung by the chimney with care, In hopes that St Nicholas soon would be there. The children were nestled all snug in their beds, While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads. And mamma in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap, Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap.

The children were nestled all snug in their beds While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads. And Mamma in her “kerchief, and I in my cap Had just settled down for a long winter’s nap When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter, I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter. Away to the window I flew like a flash, Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.


The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below. When, what to my wondering eyes should appear, But a miniature sleigh, and eight tinny reindeer. With a little old driver, so lively and quick, I knew in a moment it must be St Nick. More rapid than eagles his coursers they came, And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name "Now Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen! On, Comet! On, Cupid! on, on Donner and Blitzen! To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall! Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly, When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky. So up to the house-top the coursers they flew, With the sleigh full of Toys, and St Nicholas too. And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof The prancing and pawing of each little hoof. As I drew in my head, and was turning around, Down the chimney St Nicholas came with a bound.

He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot, And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot. A bundle of Toys he had flung on his back, And he looked like a peddler, just opening his pack. His eyes-how they twinkled! his dimples how merry! His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry! His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow, And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow.


The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth, And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath. He had a broad face and a little round belly, That shook when he laughed, like a bowlful of jelly! He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf, And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself! A wink of his eye and a twist of his head, Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread. He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work, And filled all the stockings, then turned with a jerk. And laying his finger aside of his nose, And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose!

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle, And away they all flew like the down of a thistle. But I heard him exclaim, ‘ere he drove out of sight,

"Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!" Stockings at Fireplace can be found at SweetLittleThings4U on Etsy Mice in bed can be found at feltingdreams on Etsy Art doll with antler can be found at DoubleFoxStudio on Etsy Little girl in tuto photo can be found at loveshinecouture on Etsy Annabell Leigh Santa can be found at Wallstantiques on Etsy Santa and reindeer can be found at LizzieAndCoPatterns on Etsy Resin Reindeer can be found at loveforbling on Etsy

Kathy Huntington is the owner of SugarLMntnAntqs.etsy.com


The holiday season, as always, is moving up on us faster than red velvet cake settles on our butts, so now’s the perfect time to get a jumpstart on a strategy for holiday cookies and treats. Just a little bit of planning now will save time, money, and most importantly, hours of angst later.

If time constraints are too fierce, and you can work it into your budget, consider buying the cookies and treats already made. There are literally thousands of choices on etsy for holiday cookies

(Christmas Tree Sugar Cookies from Sugar Me Desserterie on Etsy)


Holiday candies

(White Chocolate Peppermint Bark from playfulwearetc. On Etsy) ..and other holiday treats

(Candy Cane Peppermint Macrons from Indayani Baked Goods on Etsy)


Another great option is a cookie swap exchange (check out 8 Steps to Hosting a Cookie Swap on marthastewart.com). Find a group of friends, or some of the other parents in your kid’s class at school, or a church group – this is a wonderful way to discover some new holiday cookie recipes and vary the selection of cookies you have on hand to offer family and friends, or to give as gifts.

(Image courtesy of marthastewart.com) Baking cookies from mixes is another good way to save your valuable time, but still have a chance to enjoy a bit of holiday baking. Better Homes & Gardens has some great cookie recipes based on their mixes, including Gingerbread-Espresso Spirals, and Toffee-Coffee Brownies (find them at http://www.bhg.com/christmas/cookies).


If you have a bit more time than you do money, here’s a great basic sugar cookie recipe that you can use to make drop cookies or rolled cookies for cutters. It makes between four and five dozen cookies, depending on your generosity in interpreting the word “teaspoonfuls”. Chill it for at least an hour before making cut cookies, and keep it in the fridge for a few days if you like, or freeze it for up to three months. Decorate with colored frostings, sprinkles, small candies, glittery sugars, whatever you’re inspired to use.

Above all else, enjoy your holiday season! Cynthia Pepper is a great admirer of cookies, saving time, cookies, celebrating holidays with a maximum of joy and a minimum of stress, and cookies. Find her at her blog, [http://gypsumoon.blogspot.com/ ] or in one of her etsy shops: Gypsum Moon Vintage [ http://www.etsy.com/shop/GypsumMoonVintage ], Gypsum Moon Rocks [ http://www.etsy.com.shop/GypsumMoonRocks ], and Gypsum Moon Style [ http://www.etsy.com.shop/GypsumMoonStyle ].


Happy Holidays from ConstantlyAlice.com!



Whimsy Magazine Issue 2